Los Angeles-based Jewish artist, Jaime Scholnick, is an known for making sculptures that play with material and form, such as the milled wood abstractions inspired by Styrofoam packaging. Her “Gaza: Mowing the Lawn” series is the first time she has worked with photography. Here she has created altered photographs, which show wrecked urban landscapes and explosive abstractions.
In 1991, Scholnick studied ceramics and sculpture at Cal State Sacramento where she received her B.A. in 1991. She was awarded a Paper Making Residency from the Tokyo Museum of Art in 1997. She resided in Japan from 1994-1999 as she immersed herself in Japanese culture and mastered the art of Japanese paper making. Much of the work she made there was inspired by her status as a woman in this male-dominated society “where you weren’t spoken to because you were a woman.” Scholnick received her M.F.A. from Claremont Graduate University in 1999.
Her “Mowing the Lawn” series is named after an Israeli military term of attack. She has created 52 small panels to document the atrocity on the part of the Israeli military in their 2014 assault on the civilians of Gaza. Delicate lines in black, blue, yellow, and red come together to cover horrific photographs of people killed in this attack. Because she is Jewish she “can’t talk about this with my family.” But she knows that there are “enough people who are Jewish” who see the wrong in this military action.
Scholnick used a similar technique of covering photographs with lines for her 400 foot porcelain-glaze-on-steel mural, installed at Metro’s Crenshaw-Expo Station in Los Angeles. This is a collaborative piece where she began with images of the neighborhood, taken by photographer Sally Coates. She and Coates walked around the community photographing and talking to locals, asking what they wanted to see on the Metro line. After selecting from thousands of photographs, Scholnick put the parts together by layering them, collaging scenes, and adding color with paint and linework.
She is a 2017 recipient of the California Community Foundation Visual Arts Fellowship. Her work has been exhibited in galleries and museums in Japan, Amsterdam, and Berlin. In the United States her work has been shown in the Torrance Art Museum, Otis College of Art and Design, U.C.L.A. Hammer Museum, and others. She has also done community action work with the Right Way Foundation, an organization that works with foster youths.